Forgiveness is definitely NOT my favorite F-word. Those of you who follow me and watch my FB lives know what my favorite F word is. But no other f-word than "forgiveness" used to make me shut down and feel completely knotted inside. Because I didn't feel ready to forgive, I didn't want to forgive, I felt like "they" didn't deserve forgiveness, and because I felt cutting them (people, experiences, actions) completely out of my current life was enough and a "cleaner" way to deal with it all.
When I started my personal development journey years ago, and my coach at the time tiptoed around and eventually pushed me into the reality with "Seo, we cannot get to the result you are looking for without addressing this huge monster in the room, your forgiveness issue from past traumas."
I almost ran out of the meeting when he called it like that - "your forgiveness issue from past traumas." I felt vulnerable and called out about my "brokenness." But because I'm brave and committed to my work, I stayed. I sat with all the knots and stiffness inside my gut, feeling all those emotions and fears, feeling the tears, rage, sadness, defensiveness, and so much more.
What followed were weeks and weeks of more self exploration and work around my "forgiveness issue." I uncovered that my complete rejection to forgiveness came from this big fear of "becoming undone." My story went like this:
If I forgive them, that means they are free to enter my life again.
If they enter my life again, they are free to cause all the same drama, pain, damage in my life.
And then all the work I've done on myself to be okay & function normally, it will be all fucked up.
I will pretty much come undone, completely lose it, and I will be back to when I used to feel so powerless & broken.
If I forgive them, they will come back to ruin me, and I can't let that happen.
That's some heavy stuff! When I got really clear on why I was afraid of forgiveness, I was able to work through this. And this is why people need to do this work with someone else, a coach, mentor, healer, therapist...someone who can call you out on your bullshit, hold you accountable to the work you committed, and help you see your truth and UNtruth of your story.
These are some things that worked for me:
- Redefining what "forgiveness" meant to me: instead of saying forgiveness means a blank slate and ground zero, I considered a new definition of forgiveness to be FREEDOM from this terrible knotted feelings and fears I had been living with for years.
- Learning more about and practicing boundaries in my personal life, business, and relationships - so I no longer felt powerless and helpless if I ever decided to reconnect with those I was trying to forgive. Realizing it was in my full control to allow their access or influence to my life and emotion was...EMPOWERING.
- Working on HEALING my inner-child and inner teenager self so I no longer felt paralyzed with fear or anger from those parts of younger me that experienced the past pains.
- Using my adult LOGICAL MIND to see my past with less emotions - for example, when I was able to see my mother of my past as someone who was younger than me, with terrible self-esteem and insecurity, stuck in an unhappy and insecure marriage with a man with a drinking problem, trying to pretend and navigate through her life as if nothing was wrong. I considered, "could I (the adult, professional, compassionate coach Seo) possibly have a bit of compassion and patience toward this incredibly unhappy, screwed-up young woman trying to do life as best as she could, even though she is totally fucking it up?"
It took a while to get to a point where I could say I have forgiven my past, but I have. And I must admit, FORGIVENESS is really a magic F word. When we are able to free ourselves from all the pain, emotions, fears, and resistance related to letting go of our past pain, it's incredible how much SPACE it creates for us to invite something that is more joyful and loving toward our soul.
Do you have someone or something to forgive? How do you feel about forgiveness? What has been your journey so far?
Here's how to work on forgiveness to create the mindset and energetic shift you desire...
Sharing a practice from my 21-day Mindset Makeover program.
we start a new one - money edition in December - join us.
The snake was at least 1000 years old. Over the course of its long life, it had grown rather large, gargantuan really. There wasn’t anything outwardly menacing about it...it was the type of animal that engaged in defense rather than offense. Slithering down the gnarly hill, making its way toward the river at the bottom, it struggled to navigate the trail, the gigantic snake dwarfing the path with its impressive bulk. As the path grew steeper, it became even more constricted, precluding the snake from advancing. The sharp edges of the rough terrain scraped away at the reptile’s scales as it tried in vain to move forward. The snake’s task appeared insurmountable. At the peak of despair, the snake suddenly became airborne, spreading wings it never knew it had. Freeing itself from the limitations of the narrow path, the snake transformed into a dragon, lowering itself onto the water below with a sprightly grace, fire flowing from its nostrils.
Such was the vision my father had in a dream, shortly after my mother became pregnant with me. Joyous and excited, my father saw this vision as an omen of the warrior his child would surely grow into one day. My father never missed an opportunity to regale everyone with this story, an enchanted crowd eagerly congratulating him in earnest for the up and coming hero he’d undoubtedly bred.
The first time I was deemed a disappointment was on the day I was born. I was a healthy baby, and there was nothing remarkable about the way I came into this world. My crime was that I was born a girl, so I couldn’t possibly become the warrior my father had envisioned. The common theme of my early life was that if only I’d been a boy, I would truly be of value. My natural inclination to walk on the edge and push against limitations was a quality so sought after in a boy, and yet so frowned upon in a girl. The possibility that I could grow up to be a hero as a girl was out of the question, mainly because nobody ever bothered to ask the question.
My childhood was spent under the barren wings of my narcissistic, abusive parents, in a dysfunctional home that was all about image and perception. On the outside, we appeared to be the perfect family, but our reality was so different. The love I received was conditional upon my getting good grades, obeying the rules, and being popular among the other children. I learned early on that there was a reward for following this expected path, and there was a punishment for spreading my wings and flying wherever my spirit took me.
I moved to the United States from Korea as a teenager. Eager to please, I did all the right things--I went to college, met a Korean guy and got married. I landed a great job that came with a six-figure salary, and I played by the rules. I should have been happy, but I was miserable--miserable because my husband couldn’t tolerate a wife with vivid dreams of her own that did not start and end with cooking and cleaning. I wanted to fly, but my husband kept clipping my wings. Meanwhile, the corporate environment that padded my bank account became toxic as I was openly told I would never succeed unless I toned down my fiery personality and conformed.
I thought I’d grown accustomed to living in a gilded cage with my wings clipped. But the dragon within me had never been slayed, despite the best efforts of my parents, husband, and various employers. I walked away from my stifling marriage, along with the seemingly perfect job with no plans and nothing lined up, just the relentless flame burning within me.
In Korean folklore, there are snakes that live for thousands of years, only to become dragons once they’ve truly earned their wings. Shaking off the mediocrity of an ordinary reptile that lives underground, slithering its way around, they transform into invincible creatures, the stuff of legends. In the West, on the other hand, the most invincible creatures are the warriors who slay dragons to save helpless princesses.
I knew that the role of the helpless princess was not for me. I wanted to be a warrior, but not the slaying kind. I was born to become that dragon, unclip my wings, and fly my own way, even if it fell outside of the rules society created to keep me in line. My path wasn’t easy, and it certainly wasn’t straightforward. It mostly consisted of attempts to follow a constricted trail that continually left me feeling trapped. My breakthrough came when I took a leap of faith, spread my wings, liberated the fire within me, and followed my passion. I found my purpose, met and married the true love of my life and permanently shed the shackles that had kept me trapped for so long.
My winding journey has led me to create a tribe, a sisterhood of sorts, where I’ve found my soul mission in helping women ignite the dragon within. Much to my father’s chagrin, I did become the warrior he foresaw, just not in the way he anticipated. I come from a culture that says that women can’t be warriors, but I’ve already disproved that stereotype. I’m here to unleash the fiery dragon within you, if you’re willing to unclip your wings. Are you ready to soar?
When the subject of money comes up in your life, does it make you uncomfortable? Do you feel uneasy, or on edge about it?
A lot of people struggle when it comes to money, and I think this is such a natural thing. Money is often the most common reason why families experience tension or individuals experience stress. Personally I have so many childhood memories and past experiences that still bring uncomfortable feelings and emotions related to money.
When we are entrepreneurs, these insecurities and other mindset blocks around money are even more highlighted, because we are often solely responsible for creating the income and revenue to sustain our life and business.
Have you ever thought to yourself “why isn’t this working, why is it every time I work my ass off I have nothing to show for it?”
Have you often thought you weren’t good enough to have prosperity in your life? Or if you did have money it was gone in an instant? These are common problems that we all face from time-to-time. It stems from our subconscious mind and usually originates from childhood. Our limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging habits around money can feel impossible to correct.
Changing your mindset can feel like a daunting task but over time you can train your brain to think differently with consistent practice and the right tools.
When we don’t have the right mindset, it manifests in different ways and even if you have all of your other ducks in a row, if you don’t truly believe, or have a “lack” mindset for whatever reason, things generally tend to fail. This may happen over and over again. This can lead to stress, failure in your business and even health issues.
I too used to have the problem of self-sabotage when it came to my money mindset. I would be doing really well, showing up consistently in my business and gaining new clients. Then I would self-sabotage myself by making careless large investments that were supposed to help my business which turned out to be rushed, ineffective decisions, or would stop whatever consistent business action I was taking for no reason, or heavily discount my rate to clients even when no one requested it.
It just got old. I was tired of being stuck at $5K months...I wanted to reach that $10K per month mark in my business and I kept sabotaging myself whenever I got close! So finally, I got really serious and took my business coach’s advice and fully committed to my daily intentional mindset practice. And you know what? That shit worked. In as little as 4 short months:
This experience taught me that changing our money mindset is possible, and it’s not too difficult. All it took was incorporating a few very simple practices that felt good to me. BUT the hard part was ACTUALLY DOING THEM CONSISTENTLY.
I created a 21-Day Mindset Makeover program to help you learn how to do these mindset practices, and support you to stay accountable and consistent for 21 straight days. Together we can work on taking control of our limiting, sabotaging beliefs and kick those thoughts to the curb. With my “21 Day Mindset Makeover-Money Edition” we’ll work through those blocks and create a new way of thinking, here’s how.
Imagine working on your mindset everyday while learning and practicing on:
Through daily videos with simple, easy to follow exercises you can complete in 5-20 minutes a day, we will create healthy relationship with money, and set foundations to flourish in your business and in life!
If you feel stuck and like you’re not in the driver’s seat, have fears that constantly rear their ugly heads and sabotage your progress, or feel that other people have it better, than sister, we need to change your mindset. There is a total rock star inside each one of us, and you know deep down inside that you have so much to offer and deserve to charge your worth.
For more information about how my program can help you, please check out 21daymindset.com.
“It takes 21-days to create a habit, so let’s create this habit and make magic happen!”
Meet Seo Kelleher, an intuitive coach for life and business, committed to empowering women. "I am passionate about helping women find the courage to transform their lives by embracing their vulnerability and taking the responsibility."